Impeachment against President Donald Trump is the likely litmus test for a few dozen vulnerable House Democrats whose districts voted for the president in 2016.
While some of these Democrats have run on moderate platforms to draw voters on both sides of the political aisle, a vote in favor of impeachment will surely imperil their chances in 2020. And Republicans strategists and Trump allies—armed with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on elections—have already started to capitalize.
Following the 2018 midterms, 31 Democrats won districts Trump carried in 2016. But first things first, Democratic Reps. Jeff Van Drew (N.J.) and Collin Peterson (Minn.) have just voted against impeaching Trump, with Van Drew to soon switch to the GOP. A third Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine), voted “yes” on abuse of power but against impeaching Trump for the second article of impeachment—obstructing Congress.
Here are the 29 Democrats in Trump-leaning districts who voted “yes” on the two articles of impeachment. Both impeachment articles were approved by a mostly party-line vote. The abuse of power vote was approved 230-197-1. The second article, Obstruction of Congress, was passed 229-198-1.
Rep. Angie Craig — yes
Rep. Kendra Horn —yes
Rep. Matt Cartwright — yes
Rep. Ben McAdams— yes
Rep. Anthony Brindisi — yes
Rep. Tom O’Halleran – yes
Rep. Lucy McBath — yes
Rep. Lauren Underwood — yes
Rep. Cheri Bustos — yes
Rep. Abby Finkenauer—yes
Rep. Dave Loebsack — yes
Rep. Cindy Axne – yes
Rep. Elissa Slotkin — yes
Rep. Haley Stevens — yes
Rep. Collin Peterson — no
Rep. Susie Lee — yes
Rep. Chris Pappas — yes
Rep. Jeff Van Drew — no
Rep. Andy Kim — yes
Rep. Josh Gottheimer— yes
Rep. Mikie Sherrill — yes
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small — yes
Rep. Max Rose — yes
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney — yes
Rep. Antonio Delgado — yes
Rep. Conor Lamb — yes
Rep. Joe Cunningham — yes
Rep. Elaine Luria — yes
Rep. Abigail Spanberger — yes
Rep. Ron Kind — yes
Rep. Jared Golden — yes on abuse of power, no on obstruction of Congress
A day before the vote, President Trump’s reelection campaign released polling numbers that suggested supporting impeachment may imperil these Democrats who hold seats in proven Trump-voting districts.
“The issue of impeachment is seriously endangering all 30 Democrats” in those districts, the Trump campaign said. New Jersey’s 2nd District, a seat currently held by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.), wasn’t included as Van Drew had already confirmed his plans to oppose the articles of impeachment and switch parties after the vote.
“Voters also favor electing a new person over the incumbent in those districts by 11 points, 47-36,” the campaign said, citing the polling data. “By enormous majorities, voters also would prefer that Congress work on lowering prescription drug prices, passing new trade deals, and fixing our infrastructure rather than impeaching the president.
“These Democrats already knew they were in trouble before the sham impeachment, but now they are in serious jeopardy,” Trump’s reelection manager, Brad Parscale, said in a statement. “By moving forward with her political theater of impeachment, Nancy Pelosi has accomplished two things: she has energized the President’s supporters and walked her entire majority caucus off the plank.”
Rep. Horn’s district in Oklahoma has been especially under the microscope. One political website, RollCall, ranked her’s as the most vulnerable in the 2020 elections, while polling site FiveThirtyEight notes that she has an 85 percent chance of losing.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has ranked her district as a “toss-up,” meaning that either a Republican or a Democrat could win the seat in 2020.
Parscale highlighted the peril of Horn’s impeachment support on Twitter and accused Pelosi of “marching members of her caucus off the plank and into the abyss.” He included a poll from pollster Anthony Fabrizio that found 49 percent of Oklahomans in her district are looking for a new member of Congress, while only 37 percent said she should be reelected.
After Rep. Slotkin announced her decision to impeach, she received a chorus of boos and jeers at a contentious town hall meeting in Michigan. A number of Trump voters arrived and held signs calling for her ouster in 2020.
“I will stick to that regardless of what it does to me politically,” she told the town hall amid the boos.
As criticism of these Democrats mounted within their own districts, several said they would be fine with losing at the next election.
One of them was Rep. Axne, who told local media: “My job is to work for the people here in this district and do a good job for them. But my job also is to protect this country. If we find out that the president has put us in harm’s way, then I have absolutely no problem losing a seat over that.”